Report No. 117
Training of Judicial Officers
1.1. Any organization-service-oriented in character-can be appraised in terms of: (a) effectiveness in the achievement of its objectives-goals-results, and (b) promotion of internal 'efficiency' in order to achieve the results. What are the goals or objects to achieve which justice delivery system was devised? Indian Judicial System is admittedly colonial in origin and imported in structure. Without even a semblance of change in the last four decades since independence, in its mode, method of work, designations, language, approach, method of resolving disputes, it has all the trappings of the system established by the foreign rulers. On the attainment of independence, this system was overnight expected to be an effective instrument of ushering in social revolution in Republican India.
On the enforcement of the Constitution in January 1950, this system was expected to adapt itself to facilitate the transformation of Indian society into a nation and to become an effective instrument for carrying out the mandate of Article 38. Judiciary being an important instrumentality for exercise of State judicial power, it had to shoulder the burden along with other wings to set up a welfare State in which justice-social, economic and political-shall inform all the institutions of national life.
It must also shoulder the primary responsibility of eliminating inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities not only amongst individuals but also amongst groups of people residing in different areas engaged in different vocations. It had the added responsibility of becoming a guardian angel for the protection of fundamental rights of the citizens. Thus, from a purely colonial institution operating more or less as a wing of law and order enforcement machinery, it was to become a sentinel on the qui vive.
Human resources constitute a critical element of any organisation; the quality and quantity of human resources significantly influence the level of effectiveness as well as efficiency of organisation. The criticality of human resources is reflected in the oft-repeated adage that any organisation (its structure and systems included) is only as good as the people who operate it. The nature and degree of knowledge, skills and ethics of the people on the one hand, and clarity in their appreciation of, and commitment to, the objectives on the other, are critical to the internal efficiencies and external effectiveness of organisation.1
If the human resources of an organisation thus form a very important part of an organisation, it is undeniable that it must remain up-to-date both with regard to changes in the hopes and aspirations of the people, demands from the justice system and contemporary needs of the society, research in the field of law, new and revised methods of resolving disputes in the society, the concept of equality in a society consisting of unequals and the goals of the Constitution. Further, the Indian society is in a constant state of flux. Under the impact of technological advances coupled with developments plans, it is facing new challenges and problems. Bhopal gas disaster has thrown up numerous challenges to the Indian Justice system and necessarily the personnel manning the same.
And yet what the Chief Justice Warren Burger said while addressing the American Bar Association mutatis mutandis applies to the present day Indian justice delivery system. He said, "In the final third of the century, we are still trying to operate courts with fundamentally the same basic methods, the same procedures and the same machinery, Roscoe Pound said, were not good enough in 1906."2 What Lord Devlin said for British Justice system has equal validity for our system. He said, "If our business methods were as antiquated as our legal system, we would have become a bankrupt nation long back".
If it is thus undeniable that the judges have to be up-to-date and can afford to fall behind at their own peril, the updating can hardly be left to the voluntary effort of the judge to read modern literature on the subject. Add to this the hardship of availability of such literature in lower rung of the ladder where need to update knowledge is keenly felt. Thus, the need for imparting training to the members of the judiciary at every level with a view to improving performance and efficiency cannot be overemphasised. Knowledge is power and it can only be acquired by facilities for training. It is conceded that training can significantly upgrade the capability of everyone called upon to perform a duty.
It is all the more so in the case of judicial officers, because sociology of law is acquiring new and added significance in the development of the society. Therefore, their knowledge, skills and attitudes require to be sharpened. In the report of the Law Commission for introducing participatory justice at the grass-roots level3 and in the report recommending all-India judicial service,4 Law Commission has reiterated the need for continuing and on-going programme of pre-service and in-service training for judicial officers. This report deals thus with Item No. 5 of the Terms of Reference in the Context of Studying Judicial Reforms assigned to the Law Commission which relates to "the training of judicial officers".
1. Dr. G.R.S. Rao, Senior Faculty, Chairman, Public Policy and Systems Area, Administrative Staff College, Hyderabad: A note submitted to the Commission-September 1986.
2. 1970 Address of Chief Justice Warren Burger to the American Bar Association.
3. LCI, One Hundred Fourteenth Report.
4. LCI, One Hundred Sixteenth Report.